If the case becomes a long-term missing case, there are still things that can be done to help keep the media interested in covering the story....
The most important thing is to keep the missing child’s story in the public’s eye.
Presenting the child’s story in a different way, makes it more likely to be used or aired by the media.
Remember media attention can increase when special events are held such as at the time of the child’s birthday or on the anniversary of the missing date.
Because holding such events and activities give the media something to cover, the family liaison should remind families of the power of this activity if they are not already planning on such events.
Examples of such events include candlelight and balloon vigils. Below are images from a candle light vigil held by a family. And the media may be drawn to families talking about how these dates are different and difficult without their child.
This is a great way to get the message of the missing child out there. These vigils can be done in public areas, such as parks or public properties with the permission of the relevant authorities.
Consider inviting public figures, representatives from the missing child clearinghouse or other child advocates in the area.
At some events families will attach bookmarks to the balloons used. The bookmark can contain photos, including an age progressed image if available, and all of the information described above.
This can be a cost effective way to spread information about the missing child. In one instance a bookmark was literally found hundreds of miles away.
There also needs to be information about who to contact with leads or information, such as the investigating law enforcement agency and/or NCMEC at 1-800-THE-LOST or 1-800-843-5678.
Additional ideas to share with families, if they have not already considered them, include:
- Tying the missing child’s story to something that will be broadcast repeatedly such as a popular song on the radio. Then every time the song plays, it will be a reminder the child is still missing.
- Getting the community involved. For example was the missing child on a sports team?
Can that team play a game in honor of the child?
If so create items such as buttons, wristbands or colored ribbons with the child’s picture and have attendees wear them to the game and team players wear them during the game.
- Enlisting the support of a celebrity in the community, local politician, local personality or some local person who is close to the investigation.
This can be the school principal, town mayor, fire chief, local prom queen, church leader or anyone who has influence in the community.
The goal is to reach as many people as possible.
Over time parents may want to consider this involvement as a new way to raise awareness for their child’s case.
Securing help from people of this nature can give the story a new look and change the tone of the interviews just by bringing in someone new to discuss the case.